A woman jailed for arranging the murder of a witness had her 19-year sentence increased to 35 years by the Court of Appeal yesterday.
Caryn Moss was in 2018 convicted of conspiring with others to murder 30-year-old Oneil Marshall prior to his testimony in an abetment to murder trial.
Marshall’s bullet-riddled and partially burned body was found in the parking lot of a derelict grocery store on Market Street on May 1, 2016.
Moss told police that on numerous occasions from December 2015 up to the day of the murder, she was approached by three separate men who offered her $200,000 if she would lead them to Marshall, who was supposed to be in protective custody.
Moss eventually lured Marshall out and left him in a car, with the child safety locks engaged, through Yorkshire Street before she heard multiple gunshots.
Moss returned to the scene the following day and collected the spent bullet casings from the scene. Those souvenirs of the crime were later handed to police.
Moss’ attorneys, Murrio Ducille and Latia Williams, challenged her conviction claiming the conviction was not supported by the evidence and that one person acting alone cannot be guilty of conspiracy. They also argued that the sentence was unduly harsh.
Prosecutors appealed the sentence, arguing that there were no extenuating circumstances for the trial judge to deviate from the sentencing guideline of 30 to 60 years.
In response, prosecutors said that while it takes two or more persons to agree or act together to constitute conspiracy, each one of them is guilty of conspiracy and that a single one can be tried alone even if the identity of the fellow conspirator is unknown.
The panel of justices of appeal Stella Crane Scott, Roy Jones and Milton Evans dismissed Moss’ appeal and upheld the prosecution’s appeal against sentence.
Evans said, “In these circumstances, I find that the sentence passed was based on wrong principle of law and was unduly lenient. In my view there was nothing in the judge’s findings that could justify such a drastic departure from the accepted scale established for a sentence with respect to conspiracy to commit murder. I have taken into consideration that although Moss played an active role in the crime she was not the shooter.
“Society’s displeasure of acts of this nature is reflected in the lengthy maximum sentence imposed by Parliament. It therefore follows that the court ought to recognize the offense of conspiracy to commit murder as a serious offense especially where the murder, which was the subject of the conspiracy, has taken place and the penalty should reflect the seriousness of the offense.”
T’shura Ambrose, Al-Leecia Delancy and Rodger Thompson appeared on behalf of the DPP.